One year after the investigation began with the eviction of dozens of Jews from two houses near the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, Israeli Police rejected Arab claims the legal documents of sale were forged. The announcement comes two weeks after the United Nations Security Council declared Jewish ownership of land in Hebron illegal, erasing several Bible verses relating the sale of the area to the Jewish Patriarch, Abraham.
The Jewish families were evicted one day after the entered the houses last January by order of then-Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon (Likud), who called them “intruders”, accusing them of a “brazen” breach of the law.
On Friday, the police recommended the court drop the case and allow the Jews to return to their houses. Times of Israel reported that several Palestinians had been detained by the Palestinian Authority (PA) for suspicion of selling land to Jews.
Selling land to Jews is a crime under the PA, and can incur the death penalty. At the same time the Jewish families were being evicted from their homes in Hebron last year, Ezra Nawi, a Jewish far-left activist from the Ta’ayush group and prominent advocate for Palestinian rights, was filmed boasting that he helped the PA identify and kill Palestinians who sold land to Jews.
In a similar case in 2007, Jewish residents were evicted from a four-story apartment building in Hebron after Palestinians alleged that the building had been purchased unlawfully with the help of a Palestinian frontman. Two Arabs accused of selling the house to Jews were imprisoned by the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinians claimed the large number of documents provided by the Jews were forged, despite a video tape of the documents being signed by the Arab owners. Following the court decision in 2014 in favor of the Jews, the families were permitted to return to their houses. United Nations Special Rapporteur Richard Falk criticized the court decision, sayng that ″Hebron embodies all the worst features of apartheid, colonialism and oppression that are to be found throughout Occupied Palestine″.
The first Jew to legally purchase property in Hebron was the Patriarch Abraham, who purchased a cave from Ephron in order to bury his wife, Sarah. This sale, recorded in the Bible, was declared invalid by the recent UN Security Council resolution 2334 that was allowed to pass by President Barack Obama.